I've been to New Zealand twice before (for several months each time, 1994 and 2000) and it's one of my favorite places in the world. My future husband has never been and I want to show him why I love it so much-- and try to convince him that we should move there for awhile. :-)
I know from past experience that four-and-a-half days in Auckland might be a bit too much and I'd like to take day trips-- or maybe an overnighter-- from Auckland to sample the various, wonderful things New Zealand has to offer. (Did I mention I want to sell my future husband on living there?)
Since we'll be in the Cook Islands for three weeks following Auckland, I think we can pass on any beach and kayaking activities while in New Zealand. Other than things on the sea, we both love wine, photography and hikes.
Can anyone suggest any decent wineries within reasonable driving distance of Auckland? (Hawkes Bay: too far.)
How about some only-in-New-Zealand attractions like the glow worm caves in Waitomo? (The downside to that is that the glow worm caves are the ONLY thing to do in Waitomo.)
I've been to the Bay of Islands before and I recall that it's quite far-- 4 hours each way to Paihia from Auckland? That might be a bit far.
My husband-to-be is not a Split Enz or Crowded House fan so no Te Awamutu tour of Finn Brothers history is in the cards for us. ;-)
I look forward to reading your suggestions. Thank you!